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malice aforethought


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The * mens rea (state of mind) required for a person to be guilty of murder. It is unnecessary for there to be any element of hostility (see malice) or for the intention to kill to be “forethought” (i.e. premeditated). The term covers:(1) intention to kill (direct express malice aforethought);(2) intention to cause grievous bodily harm (direct implied malice aforethought);(3) realizing while doing a particular act that death would be a virtually certain result (indirect express malice: R v Woollin [1999] AC 82);(4) realizing that grievous bodily harm would be a virtually certain result from the act, e.g. shooting at someone without wanting to kill him, but realizing that he is virtually certain to suffer a serious injury (indirect implied malice.The prosecution must prove one of these four types of malice aforethought to secure a conviction of murder.

(1) intention to kill (direct express malice aforethought);

(2) intention to cause grievous bodily harm (direct implied malice aforethought);

(3) realizing while doing a particular act that death would be a virtually certain result (indirect express malice: R v Woollin [1999] AC 82);

(4) realizing that grievous bodily harm would be a virtually certain result from the act, e.g. shooting at someone without wanting to kill him, but realizing that he is virtually certain to suffer a serious injury (indirect implied malice.

Subjects: Law.


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